A Maryland woman is accused of taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to move 100 pounds of marijuana into Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Kayla Messinese, 24, of Edgewater, Maryland, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver, criminal use of a communication facility and other related offenses.
In March, local investigators received information from a confidential informant that drug traffickers planned to use the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage by making large-scale drug deals more frequently and less discreetly under the belief that police had taken their focus off of proactive drug investigations.
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Investigators then determined Messinese would be traveling to Upper Merion Township on Friday, April 3, to deliver 100 pounds of high-grade marijuana, officials said. Detectives located her vehicle and then followed her to a parking garage along the 500 block of South Goddard Boulevard. Messinese was then arrested as she met with two people to complete the transaction, according to investigators.
Officials said they searched Messinese’s car and found 100 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $200,000 packaged in vacuumed sealed bags inside three large duffel bags.
“This investigation determined that the defendant was going to use the COVID-19 emergency as an opportunity to traffic a large amount of marijuana, traveling several hours to King of Prussia to make the transaction,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said.
“Drug dealers and other criminals need to know that we have not stopped investigating and prosecuting crimes because of this pandemic. Do not traffic drugs of any kind in Montgomery County.”
Messinese was arraigned Friday and remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility after failing to post $150,000 cash bail.